Chairman's Report 2014

Front cover for website

"Courageous leadership will be the key ingredient that will bring about the greatest shift for workplace diversity & inclusion"

Diversity is no longer just about ethnicity, it is about age, gender, sexuality, physical and mental ability, religion, culture and politics. It is about a vast array of differences and how embracing those differences is ultimately good for business.

There is an increasing level of awareness amongst leaders that promoting and fostering organisational diversity is about more than just doing the right thing. There is still work to be done though to achieve a general acceptance that there is no one size fits all approach, doing diversity and inclusion well requires true leadership rather than management solutions.

It is no longer enough to consider diversity a box ticking exercise. The acid test of democratic governance and an organisations ability to reap the many benefits of diversity, depends on the extent to which its leadership, not only its workforce, is truly diverse.

Courageous leadership will be the key ingredient that will bring about the greatest shift for workplace diversity & inclusion. It will be visible leadership that expresses a set of values that are lived and breathed by an organisation, not just written into policy and rhetoric. It will be leadership that does not allow hierarchy to have privilege when it comes to behaviour, that understands why diversity matters and that values difference.

I am already aware of some courageous conversations that are happening out there with businesses asking how they can be more inclusive; I look forward to seeing the outcomes of some of those discussions and perhaps seeing some real success stories shared through the platform of the EEO Trust Diversity Awards NZ.

This was the 17th year that the Trust has hosted these national awards to celebrate the forward thinking organisations across New Zealand who are leading the way in workplace diversity and demonstrating positive behaviour change, and once again I was proud to be involved.

We are pleased to have continued many strong partnerships this year, including our valued alliance with the ANZ Bank who once again acted as principal sponsor of the EEO Trust Diversity Awards NZ. Also rewarding has been our partnering with the New Zealand Work Research Institute to conduct the first national workplace diversity survey in New Zealand.

Next on the agenda is guiding our membership through a change to the Trust constitution to enable better engagement and greater representation with a move to a one vote for one organisation system.

In my 13th year as Chair of the EEO Trust it continues to be a privilege to lead the Trust and the dedicated team working to educate employers about the benefits of investing in workplace diversity and inclusion. My thanks go out to our dedicated Trustees who provide support to our Chief Executive as she steers the Trust on its journey, ensuring it evolves into an organisation fit for the future and the challenges it may bring.

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